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Jacobs should be held responsible for lockout


Irishjim
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Want to know why the NHL lockout is creeping into its fourth month of existence, why we’re approaching 80 days of hockey pestilence, hostility and greed?

Here’s a story illustrating the self-interested, tyrannical leadership at play on the NHL’s side:

Winnipeg Jets representation at a recent NHL Board of Governors meeting piped up to say it was opposed to engaging in a long, bloody lockout sure to stymie their franchise’s momentum and hurt the game of hockey.

It wasn’t Winnipeg owner Mark Chipman, but rather one of the alternate governors representing the Jets.

Bruins Principal Owner and Chairman of the Board of Governors Jeremy Jacobs answered by reprimanding the Winnipeg representative as one of the “new kids on the block” and informed him that he would know when he was allowed to speak in the NHL board room.

That’s the kind of hawkish, dismissive, bully mentality that's driving the bus for the NHL lockout that's now cancelled games through the middle of December.

It’s also the reason why Bruins fans should hold Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs personally responsible.

Jacobs was always a lightning rod for local criticism and cynicism during his close to 40 years owning the Bruins, but the Delaware North baron has deservedly won some goodwill in recent years. He has consistently spent up to the NHL salary cap over the last seven years, and the high point of his ownership came two seasons ago when he oversaw a talented Bruins team that won the Stanley Cup.

But even in the midst of his greatest moment as an NHL owner, Jacobs proved tone deaf. He couldn’t help but needle Bruins President Cam Neely during the team's championship parade for never winning his own Cup as a player. It was a cringe-worthy moment on a day that should have featured wall-to-wall grins, and it gave Bruins fans a chance to remember why they held Jacobs in contempt for so long.

Those strange few seconds on that June day put on display the out-of-touch attitude that has helped the NHL become mired in another lengthy work stoppage for the second time in less than a decade.

The NHLPA members and hockey fans alike are waylaying NHL commissioner Gary Bettman for instituting the work stoppage. But at the end of the day Bettman is simply the messenger for the 30 NHL owners. Jacobs and his fellow owners are the reason the NHL can’t function without a war between every new Collective Bargaining Agreement. They are the reason hockey is a mismanaged mess.

When Patriots owner Robert Kraft helped broker an NFL labor deal before regular season games were affected, it appeared as though his love for the game of football and his concern for NFL fans played a role. There is no love of hockey coming from the end chair at NHL Board of Governors meetings. Instead there are quarterly reports, profit margins and calculated formulas telling NHL owners when it makes the most fiscal sense to open the doors to the regular season.

Nothing else matters. Not the fans, the players, the arena employees and those local businesses depending on the $800,000 to $1 million that each Bruins game pumps into the Boston economy.

If the NHL lockout is going to end as soon as Dec. 5 at the NHL Board of Governors meeting, then it’s going to take other hockey-loving hockey owners to overthrow the stone, cold businessmen in the room.

The biggest question of the lockout is, why would a frugal, shrewd businessman like Jacobs seemingly do his own team a disservice by prolonging the lockout? The Bruins have the most money committed in player salaries over the next two seasons, and would be severely affected by a sudden drop in the salary cap. Even if NHL teams are given a one-year transition period to adjust to a plummeting salary cap, the Bruins will be bumping the cap ceiling in 2013-14 without a single proven NHL goaltender signed on for duty.

That’s a horrendous position for Jacobs to leave his franchise when the Bruins have relied so prominently on defense and goaltending for success. But it doesn’t seem to matter a whit to the Bruins owner as he bangs the drum for a lowered salary cap, draconian contract restrictions, and a stodgy desire to turn the NHL clock back at least 30 years.

Because Jacobs is a multi-billionaire used to winning and hearing exactly what he wants to hear at all times. During the 2004-005 lockout Jacobs and the Bruins were in a position of influence within the Board of Governors, but approached it with a horrendously flawed game plan.

The Bruins expected a wide open seller’s market for free agents coming out of that lockout, and famously allowed Mike Knuble, Brian Rolston, Sergei Gonchar and Michael Nylander among others to walk away from Boston. Jacobs never saw the 24 percent salary rollback coming from the NHLPA, and suddenly teams received tremendous discounts for all contracts signed prior to the work stoppage.

Instead of NHL free agent superstars lining up to play in Boston, the Bruins botched things further by inking glue factory FA’s like Brian Leetch and Alex Zhamnov.

The Bruins franchise bottomed out in the two years coming out of the 2004-05 lockout with a glorified expansion team roster, traded away Joe Thornton for a pittance and then cleaned house within the B’s front office before a slow rise to the top under GM Peter Chiarelli and President Cam Neely.

Jacobs turned out to be a giant loser coming out of the last lockout, and now his Buffalo-sized ego is looking for a dramatic, one-sided win against the players coming out of this season’s work stoppage. That one-way, ends-justify-the-means mentality is exactly what’s driving the NHL owners this time around.

But the players have already waived the white flag. They've offered the owners the 50/50 revenue split for which they were hoping, and the NHLPA moderates are ready to further discuss terms of a truce if Bettman and the NHL owners are willing to throw an olive branch or two the players’ way.

"We want to play," Bruins forward Shawn Thornton said recently. "But there hasn’t been one bone thrown our way [by the owners] to where guys would say if it went to a vote right now we could live with it. There are things that have to be addressed.

“If there were a couple of bones thrown in there then there’d be enough moderates to voice their opinions to Don [Fehr]. But it hasn’t been that way at all. We keep giving and [the owners] keep saying ‘Thanks . . . what else have you guys got?’ Until that changes, nothing [about the lockout] is going to change."

The players aren’t responding kindly to being bullied by board room brutes like Jacobs, but there’s little they can do about it if they want to get back on the ice. The only people that speak the kind of voice that Jacobs and Co. will understand is the ticket-purchasing public.

Bruins fans can show their disapproval of the Jacobs-led NHL lockout by canceling season tickets, switching to the AHL or college hockey instead of the local NHL product, or simply changing the channel when the games come back. For business mavens like Jacobs, that is the only language they understand.

But that’s not an easy task so what else could fans do?

Jacobs owns the TD Garden so they could skip the circus, swear off concerts at the Garden, and even victimize the Celtics as innocent bystanders in the House that Jacobs Built.

It’s probably not realistic, but it’s something to think about as those that love the NHL try to come up with a way to clearly illustrate to Jacobs, Bettman and Co. that two lengthy work stoppages in eight years is simply unacceptable. The NHL has taken its customers for granted far too often in recent years, and there should be a lesson learned for those league “fathers” that allowed this to happen on their watch.

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Ah, another good article bashing the guys that gave the players their jobs in the 1st place... I think (since we are headed there anyway) we should outlaw all owners and investors in every business everywhere. It will then be the responsibility of the employees (which does happen but rarely) to purchase the business to keep it open or choose not to and it can close down. That way, in this case, the players can assume all the risk and invest THEIR money in this grand scheme.

Ohhh, what's that??? The players and employees are not gonna do that? Don't want the risk? Don't have the money? Crosby has some, I'm sure of it...But of coarse... It is so much easier to just sit back, collect your paycheck and b & moan about how the world SHOULD work and while we are at it, by all means, lets rip into the guys that gave you the pay check.

But from making tires to donuts, any industry, it's those horrible evil investors and owners! Down with them all! Gode forsake them all for actually making money. Curse them for saying "no, this is my bussiness and it won't be run by the employees..." Shun them for valueing what made us great to begin with.

Yep, thats the country I'm proud of... It falls with not so much of even a whimper...

(i didn't spell check disclaimer)

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I care about the players more than you evidently. I clearly see an economic model that will have the owners on solid footing and the players making way more than they did last year w/ the contracts honored fully. I want a win win and don't get blinded by my ideology in this matter. Nor will I sit around and blame the last CBA (in which the players wound up making more money than ever) and the one before that. I look to the future and realize this is a difficult situation that will require sacrafice. If you prefer, you can remain stuck in the mud and blame game and be bitter about the owners and people who supply OUR demand for a sport. Regardless, both can win and win big but... I suppose envy and hatred will rule the day...

I look to a solution where Giroux and Snider can show up at a charity event in Philly and really actually like each other. Snider will have a solid footing (for the other teams anyway) and Giroux will be compensated beyond any kids possible dreams. It can happen... But it will require some things in the very short term to happen that may not be as it is first seen...

My entire position, all along, is that for the players to win and win big, the owners need to win first so that there is less "sharing and propping up" of troubled teams and to allow more money, time and energy to go into growing the sport, which if you look at history (last CBA anyone) the players are gonna make out like kings...

But , you are right, by all accounts I must hate the players...

kinda sad that anyone in this great nation just can't get that simple economic plan....

Carry on folks and pls feel free to rip into me in the shoutbox, as usual....

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I didn't say it was bashing the fans...

Yes , we supply them their money to make livings, both sides. But to purchase an item, any item, someone has to build/provide that item. You cant go buy your 50 inch plasma screen unless someone builds it. Now, no one would build it if no one wanted a 50 inch plasma. And there won't be a 50 inch plasma on the shelf if there isn't someone to physicaly build it.

So what conclusion can we draw??? Probably many...

There are only a certain number of people who want a 50 incher! It's not bread and water. And hockey isn't either. There are FAR fewer that have the organizational skills, money and backing to develope an entire business to supply that item. And just about anyone who can speak can be trained to build them. For you and I we want the cheapest but best quality we can get. Seems labor might be absolutely crucial there....

But, the "formula" breaks down a bit when we talk about pro athelets at the highest level. See, not everyone can skate and shoot like a Giroux or Crosby... Or even be a 4th liner call up for that manner. Correct??? So far???

Snider has no "team" without the NHL and the players right. So, in this very specific niche, he pays his players anywhere from 600k to 7/8 million because he isn't in need of a guy screwing in a screw for that price. He pays that guy 30K a yr.... Why, because anyone can screw a screw.... The guy should be happy he is getting 30k....

So, the players are getting millions and the league finds itself in a situation that they need to restructure things so EVERYONE makes more money going foward. The league says take a pay cut now but oh, by the way, we'll honor all existing contracts so you don't actually lose any money... The players say no...??? Really? Anyone see the result of the last CBA? If thats called losing then sign me up....

Jack, if I came to you and handed you 10 dollars then you earned another 100 dollars that would be cool, right? Then, imagine I came to you and said I need 2 dollars back from you but when we get this solved you will get another return like last time.... With a track record already established I'm taking that bet AAAALLLLL day and on weekends to.

Just food for though on a number of ideas....

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Take away the owners and the league will find new owners. Take away the NHL and somebody will start a new league. Take away the world's best players, and you have the AHL. Good luck getting a network TV deal.

The owners are not doing the players any favors by giving them jobs. They are not acting out of the goodness of their own hearts, or some sort of altruistic motive to give these men jobs to keep them off the streets. They're not even doing it to make money, these guys made their money elsewhere. They're doing it because anyone with money can by a Ferrari, but owning a professional sports franchise is the ultimate shiny toy for very rich boys. And I don't mean that in a pejorative way, if I had that kind of money I'd be waiting in line to buy a team of my own.

So you and I see this in fundamentally different ways. No problem with that.

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For me, the most telling aspect of that article was the bit about Jacob's treatment of the Winnipeg Jets' rep at the BoG meeting. Telling him "he'll know when he's permitted to speak" and calling him the new kid on the block speaks volumes about how the NHL operates. I realize any $3 billion-plus business is going to be cutthroat, but there's no excuse for that type of bullish, childish behaviour.

And as the article points out, Jacob's hard line stance is going to hurt his team's ability to be competitive. And that blurb about Neely? What a prick! I can't believe Jacobs said that to him in public, or that I'm just hearing about it now.

Jacobs is a doddering, out of touch, old fool with no concept of reality or how to conduct business in the modern era. That style of management may have been the norm 40 years ago, but it doesn't fly in 2012.

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For me, the most telling aspect of that article was the bit about Jacob's treatment of the Winnipeg Jets' rep at the BoG meeting. Telling him "he'll know when he's permitted to speak" and calling him the new kid on the block speaks volumes about how the NHL operates. I realize any $3 billion-plus business is going to be cutthroat, but there's no excuse for that type of bullish, childish behaviour.

And as the article points out, Jacob's hard line stance is going to hurt his team's ability to be competitive. And that blurb about Neely? What a prick! I can't believe Jacobs said that to him in public, or that I'm just hearing about it now.

Jacobs is a doddering, out of touch, old fool with no concept of reality or how to conduct business in the modern era. That style of management may have been the norm 40 years ago, but it doesn't fly in 2012.

Ok, i agree that I would like a better approach but if you think that was bad you should have been in the meetings I have been in. Both recieving and giving (no jokes! LOL)... That is childs play compared to what I have been through, and in one instance, involved a Senator slamming his fist down while screaming at me.... I digress though...

As far as Jacobs and the Bruins go: I don't know this dude but I know his type. He a blow hard. He's probably a whole bunch of other things to, fill in the blank. I can assure one thing he isnt though... Dumb...

He is a business man. If he is willing to lose serious money short term so do you think it isn't after considerable thought, and an entire room full of VERY well paid advisors telling him what HAS happened, what IS happening and what WILL happen given each scenerio. This question is for you to chew on but: What would drive a big time business guy to risk what it seems like he is at this point? For further fodder, what would drive 30 such business men to the same conclussion???

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He is a business man. If he is willing to lose serious money short term so do you think it isn't after considerable thought, and an entire room full of VERY well paid advisors telling him what HAS happened, what IS happening and what WILL happen given each scenerio. This question is for you to chew on but: What would drive a big time business guy to risk what it seems like he is at this point? For further fodder, what would drive 30 such business men to the same conclussion???

FYI: Jacobs owns a food services company called Delaware North (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delaware_North). Annual revenue of $2.6 BILLION dollars. I doubt he sweats whatever losses the Bruins may be incurring.

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What does that have to do with anything? Once again, we are back to the envy thing. He makes billions. You don't. Neither do I. See, my point is he could make a trillion dollars. I don't care! Good for him.

So, if you were a billionaire you should just automatically give another one of your business away and overpay for your help?

Like I said, he could own BP and that means nothing to me.

What's the threash hold for you personally??? Does the local dunkin Donuts owner owe you and everyone a job? How much is that? How about the million dollar guy? What does he/she owe? How about the 100 million guy? Did we cross the threash hold there? Did we say, because you make xyz amount of money you are gonna be treated way different than everyone else... Different tax rates already apply. That's not enough? Where do YOU draw the line?

Maybe that shop owner should close up shop or the millionaire should liquidate his/her business then. Pocket the money.

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What does that have to do with anything?

Very simple. He does not own the Bruins primarily to make money. Whatever he makes or loses is a drop in the bucket to him. And since the Bruins are one of the teams that does in fact make money, why would you even use him as an example?

Maybe that shop owner should close up shop or the millionaire should liquidate his/her business then. Pocket the money

Once again (with feeling) any comparison between a professional sports league and a "normal" business is meaningless. I'm sure that shop owner (or computer software company, like say, Microsoft) would LOVE to get the kind of anti-trust protection that the courts give to professional sports leagues. It's apples and oranges.

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What's the threash hold for you personally??? Does the local dunkin Donuts owner owe you and everyone a job? How much is that? How about the million dollar guy? What does he/she owe? How about the 100 million guy? Did we cross the threash hold there? Did we say, because you make xyz amount of money you are gonna be treated way different than everyone else... Different tax rates already apply. That's not enough? Where do YOU draw the line?

I don't know if you expect answers from me here, but if you do you're going to have to explain to me what you're talking about and what any of this has to do with the current NHL labor dispute. Because I have absolutely no idea.

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Very simple. He does not own the Bruins primarily to make money. Whatever he makes or loses is a drop in the bucket to him. And since the Bruins are one of the teams that does in fact make money, why would you even use him as an example?

Once again (with feeling) any comparison between a professional sports league and a "normal" business is meaningless. I'm sure that shop owner (or computer software company, like say, Microsoft) would LOVE to get the kind of anti-trust protection that the courts give to professional sports leagues. It's apples and oranges.

You would be suprised how close we are in our thoughts except for the basic point... Your current position is because he doesn't NEED to earn money from the Bruins then he forfeits his right to run THAT business. I do not. The very point is made by yourself. He has investors and thus REQUIRED to maximize their return...

Anti trust is a facinating and valid issue but also pointless. Who gonna sue who over that. The players and owners have a better chance at PA decertification, and that was put a 50/50 (go figure)...

You know, fundamently you can call that apples and oranges and you would be right. But I want a world of Candy Canes and lollipops with a good dental plan. I'm not going to get one... keep it real and not what you wish.

So, lay out your finances. Who and from where are you making your money? Did you earn to much? Come on jack, throw down the financials. (seems absorb? I'm just trying to make an illustrastion...)

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Sorry Jack... I was typing when you replied. You deserve a response to that question. A good one... I got a few things to do before that but I will get that written up. It's worth the effort.

Thanks...

(Jack, we are actually on the same side, we are just deciding on how to get there, but you and I are not gonna have much say on that)

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You would be suprised how close we are in our thoughts except for the basic point... Your current position is because he doesn't NEED to earn money from the Bruins then he forfeits his right to run THAT business. I do not. The very point is made by yourself. He has investors and thus REQUIRED to maximize their return...

I'm not suggesting that he, or other owners of pro sports teams, forfeit their right to make money from owning a team. I'm responding to your argument (that they are significantly impacted if the team loses money) by pointing out that pro sports teams are not particularly good investments. If you're really out to make money buying a team isn't the smart way to go about it. Buying a sports team is more like buying a luxury yacht, you may or may not make money but the fun is in the ownership, not the profit. I would wager that most people who buy sports teams go into it knowing that they may very well not make a profit from it.

Anti trust is a facinating and valid issue but also pointless

It's far from pointless when you're trying to draw parallels between owning an NHL team and owning a company that makes TVs or computers. Those companies are not provided the kind of protection from anti-trust laws that sports leagues are. And thing that gives those leagues their protection is the collective bargaining process (i.e., the existence of the union). It's a symbiotic relationship, the owners need the union every bit as much as the players need the owners. That's not the case in many other businesses.

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Jack, we are actually on the same side, we are just deciding on how to get there, but you and I are not gonna have much say on that

Well, I think ultimately everyone is on the same side in that we all want our hockey back. Where you and I mainly differ is that I get the impression that you feel the owners are doing the players a favor by giving them jobs, whereas I feel the owners are more easily replaced than the players. I've never seen a Flyers jersey with the name "Snider" on the back.

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Well, I think ultimately everyone is on the same side in that we all want our hockey back. Where you and I mainly differ is that I get the impression that you feel the owners are doing the players a favor by giving them jobs, whereas I feel the owners are more easily replaced than the players. I've never seen a Flyers jersey with the name "Snider" on the back.

Damn, Jack you WOULD make a vaid point when I can't respond... Stay tuned my friend... as said before, you deserve a response and a clear clarification on what i beleive..... Then the ball will be in your court...

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@Puck You hit on the two things that made me furious when reading that article. FIrst off, you can bet if anyone would have dared stick up for the Winnipeg rep, they would have had a lifelong vendetta hung on them by Mr.Jacobs. This owner/child would have immediatley started a posse to have the person/team speaking up exiled from the inner circle...and even squeezed out the league....that is the type of petulant child we are dealing with here. A billionarie who has an incredible ego problem and has never been told no.

The Neeley comment had me even more furious. How dare that loser Jacobs say anything bad about Neeley. He gave his heart and soul to win a cup for the Bruins, any short fall was simply not his fault. I'd be willing to bet Cam crossed him at some point and it was never forgotten....thus the inapproriate jab.

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@Puck You hit on the two things that made me furious when reading that article. FIrst off, you can bet if anyone would have dared stick up for the Winnipeg rep, they would have had a lifelong vendetta hung on them by Mr.Jacobs. This owner/child would have immediatley started a posse to have the person/team speaking up exiled from the inner circle...and even squeezed out the league....that is the type of petulant child we are dealing with here. A billionarie who has an incredible ego problem and has never been told no.

The Neeley comment had me even more furious. How dare that loser Jacobs say anything bad about Neeley. He gave his heart and soul to win a cup for the Bruins, any short fall was simply not his fault. I'd be willing to bet Cam crossed him at some point and it was never forgotten....thus the inapproriate jab.

Most ranchers have a better appreciation for their cattle.

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